The Los Angeles Dodgers are one victory away from getting even with the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, and the entire country stands behind them.
Wait, what? That's what Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after his team beat the Cards 6-4 on Wednesday in Game 5. With ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw going in Game 6 at Busch Stadium on Friday night, Mattingly posited, the Dodgers have even more going for them than the best pitcher in Major League Baseball.
They also have the will of the people. All of them. Even the "Best Fans In Baseball," usually partisan for the Cardinals, are pulling for the Dodgers.
"I think if you look at it, now we've kind of become America's team because everyone wants to see a seventh game," Mattingly said. "Probably, even the fans in St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody's for us to win on Friday night."
He's right, of course.
The NFL's Dallas Cowboys used to be known as "America's Team," but have become unlovable with owner Jerry Jones as its face and quarterback Tony Romo as its maker of turnovers. There's been an "America's Team" void for some time, and the Dodgers are filling it. Not just because of they have Kershaw on their side, but others as well.
Brian Wilson. Yasiel Puig. Nick Punto. These are the kinds of players that all baseball fans agree on, that all fans like. They have universal approval, much less national.
So, even if Mattingly's proverbial tongue is just planted in a cheek somewhere, he certainly is right about one thing: The NLCS has been fun, and extending it to the nth degree is what everyone should want.
"So obviously it's a pretty good feeling with Clayton pitching on Friday," Mattingly said. "So we breathe till then."
Los America. North Angeles. Whatever you call this continent, it has rallied behind the boys in Dodger Blue. America demands a seventh game of the NLCS.
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